If you have a DSLR or mirrorless camera chances are you’ve dealt with RAW images in the past. RAW image essentially captures and retains all the original information the camera’s sensor captures in a way that is not lossy. Think about the camera’s megapixels spec, if a camera has 24 megapixels resolution, usually the RAW image is around 24MB in size. Capture in RAW is always the preferred method when it comes to photography. One common misconception is RAW image doesn’t end with .raw in the file extension. They usually have proprietary filename extensions based on the camera’s vendor. For example, Canon’s RAW image has an extension .CR2.
By default, Windows doesn’t have support opening up RAW images. So if you try to open up a RAW image with the built-in Photos app you will see a blank image like below.
Thankfully as of May 2019, all Windows 10 supports additional Raw Image Extension codecs that you can download from Microsoft Store. This enables Windows 10 to process and render RAW images natively with the Photos app.
You can download and install the add-on here or open up any RAW images in Photos and there will be a link that links you to the Microsoft Store to download the codec. As new camera releases every day by the various manufacturer the codec will be updated to support such new cameras.
Gone are the old days to use apps like Adobe Camera Raw or dedicated apps from the camera manufacturer, with this native support you now have one more reason to start shooting in RAW. You also don’t need to purchase expansive apps like Adobe Lightroom to process RAW images all photo editing now works built-in Photos app in Windows 10. Of course, the level of control you have is far less compared to Lightroom. This isn’t a comparison but instead an opportunity.